Martin Varner was one of the “Old 300”, the first group of American settlers in Tejas brought by empresario Stephen F. Austin. He established a farm here in 1824, raising livestock on a small scale.
A subsequent owner, Columbus Patton of Kentucky, transformed this property into a plantation - introducing slavery on a large scale. In fact, the Greek Revival-style plantation house was built by enslaved persons, as was the mill. Patton had 40 to 60 enslaved people on the property, which soon became a formidable sugarcane operation.
Anglo settlers had brought enslaved people into Mexican Tejas before independence, but after slavery was explicitly protected and legalized in the new Texas Republic, the institution became integral to the economy.
Visitors to Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site can explore the extensive plantation grounds, including numerous original outbuildings, pecan orchards, Patton’s cemetery, and the sugarcane mill ruins.
Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site